Kingsland Farmers Market finds its legs
The newest farmers market in Calgary had its grand opening just a few weeks ago. Pioneered by Tim Hoven of Hoven Farms, the Lund family of Lund’s carrots, and several other local farmers and vendors, it was quickly populated by stalls both familiar and new. Its intent is to be as local and accessible as possible and so far it’s succeeding on all counts. I’ve visited it just about every weekend since it opened, and watched it get a bit more organized each time. First came the porta-potties, then the ATM’s, and now the crowds.
The market in its current form is a caravan of tents shading the market from the sun, when we have it, and the chilling wind, most of the time. While the indoor building is being gutted in readiness for the fall, all the action is happening outside. Oddly enough the organization loosely resembles the supermarket, with the meats and produce on the peripehry, and ready made foods in the middle aisles.
Here are some snapshots of the market taken about four weeks ago when we still had sunshine. (We have not seen sunshine for about two weeks. Feel sorry for us.) From my visit this Saturday the lineup hasn’t changed much, although the seasonal offerings are migrating from summer to fall with squashes and brassicas appearing, and there is a wonderful potter on site now.
First there is the fruit and veggies. I somehow seem to gravitate towards Broxburn vegetables for a number of things: strawberries when they have them, tomatoes, long english cukes, bell peppers, green onions, and lately broccoli and cauliflower. Both the owner and his children who often help out, are super nice people and chat willingly about their farm and work.
In a similar vein we have the perennial favorite Cucumber Man. Year round fresh greenhouse produce with the most fragrant basil and the best small cukes that I eat at work like candy.
There is no fall without Lund’s organic carrots. Simply the best, juiciest, sweetest, and carrotest carrots in town, they are a shining example of how different vegetables taste from their woody and tasteless supermarket cousins. If you don’t find supermarket carrots woody and tasteless, you simply have no basis for comparison because you haven’t tried Lund’s. I forgot how good carrorts can be until I tried their carrots a few years ago. They also grow greens and root veggies, but I don’t really move past the carrots.
Prairie Farms closes the gaps with a variety of produce from mushrooms to lemons to leeks that other vendors don’t always carry.
Bridging the fruit and vegetable divide is Big Tomato farms which all summer long had cases of Alberta berries – blackberries, saskatoons, raspberries and blueberries. All were well priced which is good considering the vagaries of berry transport left them in shape that required picking over before they could be eaten or frozen. They seem to compile produce from several farms that are too far to travel individually and besides the berries sold tomatoes, peppers and other fruit and veggies. The highlight for me was their mini bell peppers which went on sale for 0.10 ea, and which I promptly bought like twenty of, and made mini bell stuffed peppers with.
On the fruit side I mainly purchased from the Benchland Orchard from Keremeos, BC which had wonderful peaches and apricots, and now have wonderful nectarines and plums. There is one or two more vendors there now, but sadly I have no photos to show you. All the fruit I bought here were spectacular, ripe and full. After relaxing on the warm counter for a day or two they could have been straight from the orchard.
On the meat and seafood side we have the usual suspects: Hoven Farms where I buy our weekly ground beef, a couple of steaks and the occasional roast. Their stall also carries some Sunworks Farm chicken products, and it’s my understanding that Sunworks will move in once the indoor space is finished.
Spragg’s Pork – great for bacon, ribs, chops, sausage and the odd roast.
Sensational Seafood – specializing in Ocean Wise sustainable seafood, which is rather pricey since we live in the Prairies, but of very high quality and good for an occasional splurge. And at least you know you’re not eating fish that are on the verge of collapse.
There is now something right out of a fairy tale: Alberta wine. I know, it sounds like an oxymoron to me too, but I had a bottle of their strawberry rhubarb wine and it’s excellent. Especially mixed with that elusive sunshine on a summer afternoon.
There are wonderful Saskatoon berry pies, pie fillings, tarts and syrup from the Little Purple Apple.
There are great stuffed olives, marinated in a variety of flavors. These are tossed with sun-dried tomatos and stuffed with almonds.
And my new favorite – the baked goods from Lazy Day Bakeshop. Using real butter and whole meal flour these biscotti, shortbread, mini-loaves and scones are simply some of the best baked goods I’ve ever sampled. The lovely gal doing all this baking is doing market research to open her own cafe one day, and I for one, fervently hope she succeeds. I’ve reached the point where I have to hide the lemon pistachio biscotti from James because I don’t want to share.
Should you find yourself in need of sustenance, there are several options there as well.
Great, spicy, filling Italian sausages on a bun. Messy to eat but oh so good. They also sell gluten-free pasta and hunks of parmesan.
The very popular food wagon which has a rather extensive menu and the greatest plates of fries and poutine I’ve ever seen.
The little red barn which will sort you out with a hot coffee, and lots of desserts.
And a ton more which I haven’t yet tried or have no photo of so am not covering in detail: Rustic Sourdough Bakery, Rocky Mountain Kitchen, Frontier Nut Company, Kettle Corn, A Touch of India, Daily Grind Spice Company, Twisted Basil, Jammin’ It, Barks Dog Bakey and more. Really if there’s anything you need, you can probably get sorted out here. Overall it’s a great lineup and an awesome location to service Calgary’s south end.